Today we have an interview with Chris Spooner, a british web designer who is well-known for his two design blogs, Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25. I have been a fan of Chris's work for a while now, he writes some great in-depth tutorials and provides a load of resources such as icons and WordPress themes.
I'd like to thanks Chris for taking the time to answer these questions ...
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm Chris Spooner, a Designer/Blogger who is probably most known for my two design blogs Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25. I've been running SpoonGraphics for almost 4 years, and it has reached a stage where it supports me financially to enjoy making a living from writing tutorials and articles.
How long have you been using WordPress?
My first encounter with WordPress was when I set up Blog.SpoonGraphics in April 2007. At the time it was to simply experiment with WordPress just to see what it was and how it worked.
How long has the Spoon Graphics blog been going and Could you tell us the history behind it ?
Back in 2006-2007 I remember seeing design blogs like Bittbox and Smashing Magazine spring up. I enjoyed reading their content and liked how they were helping designers out with their free resources. Being someone who's benefited from tutorials myself I wanted to give back by sharing what I knew, so I set up a blog to post some tuts of my own.
How did you initially start getting traffic and promoting it ?
I've always submitted my tutorial posts to sites such as Good-Tutorials and Pixel2Life which have been a great source of traffic, especially in the early days. Otherwise I spread the word on Twitter when a new post goes live, but generally I just rely on people voting and sharing the articles with their friends and social networks.
Was there one moment that helped kickstart it?
There were a few spikes along the way when the blog was featured on a high profile site. Each of these small spikes of traffic helps boost the stats for the future, probably due to the selection of new subscribers. As time has passed my search rankings have become a defining factor in the blog's traffic levels, with thousands of people discovering my content just from Google searches.
Is the site still growing now, could you give us any numbers behind it ?
It is still growing, but at a slow pace. It seems to have plateaued slightly. I'm not sure whether this is due to my content, or whether the community as a whole is changing. Recent outlashes towards 'design blogs' might have stopped people from wanting to visit them. With that said the stats are still showing great results, with a steady 20k visitors a day!
What was your posting frequency at the start and what is it like now ?
It's exactly the same! I've always aimed to post just one larger topic per week, on a Monday. Then I also post a smaller roundup or news post on Fridays. This schedule has really helped me manage my blog work alongside other design projects. Being the only author on my blogs it's important for me to stick to a posting schedule that allows me to balance between post frequency and content quality.
Are your blogs your main business now ?
I'm happy to report that blogging is now my primary business. A mixture of advertising revenue from both sites and a little bonus from the membership scheme has allowed me to cut right back on client related work. So thanks to everyone for helping me out by visiting, commenting and promoting my blogs over the years.
How have you found using WordPress as it grew ?
I've become more and more familiar with how it works, which has helped when building client sites in WordPress. I've also discovered how to tweak it to accommodate high traffic levels and make the most of optimisation for search engines.
Do you have any tips for optimizing Wordpress?
I actually have a post on that exact subject. Check out my WordPress Fat Loss Diet to Speed Up and Ease Load article on Line25.
What are your favourite plugins ?
Finally,For someone trying to grow their own blog, what advice do you have ?
Just keep posting things that you've either enjoyed creating or you know will help others out. As long as you enjoy creating your tutorials and articles and put the effort in you'll see the results in the near future. Just keep going and don't give up as it doesn't happen overnight.